Lord Martin Rees has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and Master of Trinity College since 2004. He was president of the Royal Society 2005 – 2010.
After holding post-doctoral research positions in the United Kingdom and the United States, he taught at Sussex University and the University of Cambridge, where he was the Plumian Professor until 1991, and the director of the Institute of Astronomy. From 1992 to 2003, he was Royal Society Research Professor, and from 2003 Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics. He was Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, London, in 1975 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1979. He also holds Visiting Professorships at Imperial College London and at the University of Leicester. In 2008 he received an honorary doctorate from Yale University and the following year one from McMaster University, in Hamilton Ontario. He was a Member of Council of the Royal Institution of Great Britain until 2010. Rees is the author of more than 500 research papers, and he has made important contributions to the origin of cosmic microwave background radiation, as well as to galaxy clustering and formation. His studies of the distribution of quasars led to final disproof of Steady State theory. He was also one of the first to propose that enormous black holes power quasars, and that superluminal astronomical observations can be explained as an optical illusion caused by an object moving partly in the direction of the observer.